Welcome to our weekly food and cooking column, Cooking With Conrad Gallagher.

Conrad Gallagher is a Michelin Star chef and author and is the owner of Off The Menu Food Emporium and Bistro Vin De Boeuf in St Francis Bay. Conrad won his Michelin Star when he was only 24 years old. We are very proud to have him writing for St Francis Today. Furthermore, this is his regular column, Cooking With Conrad Gallagher. In today’s column, Conrad gives us some insight into his menus and how to tell the difference between different cuts of meat. He also goes on to talk about some of his favourite restaurants in town. 

Please explain the difference between your meats. For example, what is the difference between your standard Jersey, Angus, and Wagyu?

Jersey, Angus and Wagyu are 3 distinctly different breeds of cattle. They, therefore, have numerous differences primarily due to where they originate and what they are bred for. 

Jersey beef originates in the British isles and is bred primarily for milk production. Its meat is, therefore, less common than other varieties. However, it is darker in colouration, has larger amounts of fat and marbling and has a higher nutritional value due to its grass-fed diet. 

Angus Beef is originally from Scotland but gaining popularity in the states. Its meat is lighter in colour with excellent marbling, making the meat tender and juicy. However, Wagyu is in a class entirely of its own. Wagyu refers to all Japanese cattle of which Kobe beef is the most famous, having set the standard across the globe for taste profile and tenderness. Wagyu beef has a natural propensity for excellent marbling due to its slower growth rate. It’s this marbling that gives Wagyu beef its excellent taste profile and tenderness.

What actually accounts for the price difference?

The difference in cost is mainly due to supply and demand as well as the time it takes to raise the animal to maturity. Wagyu being the least readily available across the globe, is obviously the most expensive.

What is consistently the most popular item on the Vin De Boeuf menu?

Our Wagyu bone-in Sirloin is extremely popular.

Why do you think this is?

I think that this is because everyone can appreciate a delicious cut of Wagyu Beef. There isn’t much that can beat the juiciness and tenderness of this cut.

How do you prepare a Beef Marrow Truffle sauce?

  • 1 tablespoon diced raw bacon fat
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • ½ cup diced winter black truffle
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • ¼ cup veal demi-glace
  • 1 cup diced raw bone marrow, soaked in milk for 24 hours
  • ½ teaspoon truffle oil

METHOD: Heat the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Sweat the bacon fat, shallots, garlic, thyme, and truffles until the shallots are soft. Add the chicken stock and veal demi-glace and bring to a simmer. Add the bone marrow and simmer for 1 minute, or just until the bone marrow is heated through but not yet rendering its fat. Immediately transfer the liquid to a blender. Blend on high. Incorporate truffle oil and chopped truffles.

Which meal would it do best as an accompaniment?

Our Beef Marrow Truffle Sauce is most appreciated when served with a delicious prime cut, a side of buttered mash paired with an exquisite merlot.

How important is wine pairing for a meal at Vin De Boeuf? Some people just want some red with meat, some white with fish. Are they doing themselves a disservice?

A good wine pairing brings the whole dish together. It allows the diner to fully experience the blend of flavours. However, we are all still individuals and may not enjoy all the same things.

 Have you had any funny situations/unusual requests from local customers yet?

Our menu tries to accommodate everyone. We have not had anything too unusual requested of our kitchen apart from, ‘what’s your vegan special?’ It’s a strange question in a meat restaurant.

Do you eat at other restaurants in St Francis? If so, which is your favourite restaurant and why?

Of course, we dine out at other restaurants in St. Francis. We enjoy being able to support the local community and experience other restaurants cuisine. I can’t say I have a favourite place to eat at. If I feel like delicious Italian, I will make it to Mauros. If I feel like some tasty Greek cuisine, Big Time Taverna is obviously the place to be. Clive’s Chokka Block, of course, he is the king of seafood. St. Francis is full of beautiful restaurants serving delicious food.

 What is your personal favourite dish in the world?

My favourite is a chilled seafood platter for two. Still, I also particularly enjoy our bone-in sirloin cooked medium-rare.

What pleases you the most about a new customer to your restaurants?

What pleases me most about new customers is the opportunity to showcase a beautiful concept that we are very proud of. Also, providing the opportunity to taste dishes and wines that you will not necessarily get elsewhere else.

With travel restrictions tightened down, do you foresee reduced trading over the season, or are you confident that the locals and visitors to St Francis will fill up the seats?

We are hoping to be able to extend our operating hours. We are aware that the potential lack of foreigners will affect trade but are entirely confident that our locals and regulars will keep our seats full.

What is next for Team Gallagher in St Francis?

For now, we are focussing on providing delicious gourmet Wine and Pinchos Evenings every Tuesday at Off The Menu. Marketing to the public about our uncorked wine evenings each Thursday, our Wagyu burger nights. We are also looking forward to launching our Pre-Fix menus at Bistro Vin de Boeuf, including a 3 Course gourmet dinner for R360 pp.

Last week’s column – Favourite Recipes – The Salmon Rillette

November 17 Interview – Cooking With Conrad Gallagher